WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Officials in Washington are addressing concerns around part of the Peterson Building, also known as the Grace Martin Harwell Senior Center, possibly being the new home to a museum.

This caused some in Washington to raise concerns and want their questions answered.

Washington City Manager Jonathan Russell said it was around 18 months ago when the city began looking at the possibility of having the second floor of the senior center made into a museum. But people said the second floor is used for many things such as book clubs, activities, counseling, health care information and more.

Grace Martin Harwell Senior Center (Caitlin Richards, WNCT photo)

“People began to kind of get upset and start to think, well, if they close down the top floor, they’re going to come after us for all of the activities that we have within the building,” said one concerned resident, Gail Breed.

That’s when Breed looked into documentation for the project to make sure it was focused only on the second floor. Still, a big question many wonder is why the senior center is an option.

“Because it’s a historic building,” said Russell. “We were looking at a space that needs analysis on how many square feet we would need, whether it was ADA compliant, parking that’s available, or there were several things that were taken into consideration.”

Russell said they’ve received two bids for the project, but they’re not obligated to move forward at this time with either. People also wondered why they didn’t know about the process of this project until only recently.

“We’ve had some discussions publicly about this, at council meetings that’s reflected in some minutes off of previous meetings. But again, it’s really premature at this time,” said Russell.

Russell said they’re not trying to replace the senior center or close it in any manner. Breed said a planned meeting with Russell will hopefully confirm there are no plans to utilize the space for what it’s used for currently.

“We just want him to say no and that they come up with an idea that everyone’s more involved,” said Breed.

City of Washington Mayor Donald Sadler said any lingering concerns should be addressed during a special public meeting about this at Grace Martin Harwell Senior Center on Tuesday at 11 a.m.